CBN Triggers 51% Fall in Cheque Transactions


By Emele Onu, 10.08.2010 


The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has influenced a reduction in the value and volume of cheque payments in the banking system by 51 per cent and 3 per cent. Whereas the value of cheques cleared by banks declined by 51.46 per cent to N10.69 trillion from June 2009 to June 2010, volume cleared dropped by 3 per cent to 12,914,662.


THISDAY gathered from industry operators that the figures dropped owing to a directive by the CBN to banks last year. The monetary authority had in December last year fixed a N10million limit on cheque transactions in the banking system. The banking watchdog had taken the action to check fraud and forgery in the payment system, stressing that by placing the limit, it was following a global trend in the promotion of e-payment.


However, as figures contained in the 2010 annual report of the Nigerian Inter-bank Settlement System Plc (NIBSS) indicated, banks benefited under the new regime through enhanced electronic payment transactions.Electronic Fund Transfer through NIBSS made a significant jump in both value and volume in the review year. The volume of electronic transfer handled increased by 246.25 per cent to close at 13,672,532 while the value jumped by 180 per cent to N6 trillion.


The Chairman of NIBSS, Mr Tunde Lemo who is also Deputy Governor, Operations of the CBN said at the 17th annual general meeting of NIBSS in Lagos yesterday that the new development was highly favourable to the shareholder banks and discount houses as total gross income of the company leaped by 55 per cent to N1.9 billion from the N1.2 billion it recorded in the preceding year.


Consequently, the organisation’s pretax profit increased by 102 per cent to N503 million over the N249 million recorded in the preceding year. Net profit on its part grew by 104 per cent to N351 million.All the banks operating in the country are shareholders of NIBSS, which was established to provide infrastructure for automated processing and settlement of fund transfer instructions among banks, discount houses and card companies. 


In a related development, the CBN yesterday put the country’s external reserves at $34.57 billion by October 5, which represented a fall in the reserves by 15 per cent, compared to $40.75 billion it was at the same time a year earlier.According to the monetary authority, the reserves have been declining, dropping by 7 per cent from the middle of last month to the end of the month. Nigeria’s external reserves deplete as the CBN continuously deploys it to funding bloated importation bill. 


But improved prices of crude oil at the international market to over $82 a barrel this week, as against the $70s region previously means that the CBN can always have reasonable level of reserves to intervene at the foreign exchange market.




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